By Lynda L. Jones
Some fourteen hours or so following the recall election primary results, where Tom Barrett was the victor, three former candidates for governor met at Barrett’s home. Kathleen Falk, Doug La Follette and Kathleen Vinehout vowed their support and work toward electing Barrett as Wisconsin’s next governor.
Mike Tate, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair presided over the press conference in front of Barrett’s home on Washington Blvd., where Barrett and the others emerged with a united pledge to work together and continue the work to oust Scott Walker as governor of Wisconsin.
On election night following the results, Barrett released the following statement: ”Tonight, I am humbled by and grateful for the support of Wisconsinites across our great state. I want to congratulate Kathleen Falk, Kathleen Vinehout, and Doug La Follette on their incredibly hard-fought campaigns; they are all tremendous public servants and we share the same goals of a Wisconsin that works for everyone – and we are united in knowing that we must work together to end Scott Walker’s ideological civil war”.
“We cannot fix Wisconsin with Walker as governor – this election is not about fighting past battles, it is about moving forward together to create jobs and get our economy moving again. Wisconsin cannot afford to continue to suffer through Walker’s ideological civil war. We’ve seen billions in tax giveaways to the super rich, while our classrooms suffered the biggest cuts in history. And under Scott Walker, Wisconsin lost more jobs than any other state in the entire country.”
“We need a governor who will end the civil war and put Wisconsin fi rst. It’s time to fi x Wisconsin and move our state forward.”
La Follette, an environmental advocate said that he has worked with Barrett in the past, and knows that he is committed to a better Wisconsin and that he cares about the environment.
Kathleen Vinehout said that Wisconsin has the historic opportunity now to make things right in Wisconsin, to unify this State and work as a team.
Kathleen Falk stated the following after the election results the night before, “I congratulate Tom Barrett on his victory tonight. Tomorrow, I will join Tom and the other candidates in this primary to renew our commitment to taking our government back.
“The next four weeks may be the most important in our state’s history. And each one of you has an important role to play.
“Let’s join together to restore all those things we love about Wisconsin. Let’s make sure that this people’s movement continues, and that our voices are heard here in our state and across our nation.
“Tom Barrett will focus on our real needs: jobs and education. Just as you supported me, we must now support him. We must support him with all our energy and enthusiasm. This movement needs the passion of all of you who have worked so long and with such sacrifi ce to make this recall happen.
“If we all keep working together, in 28 days we get our state back on track.
“Thank you to the leaders and members across the state of WEAC, AFSCME, SEIU, UFCW, Sierra Club, Young Progressives, IBEW Locals 158 and 159, Building and Construction Trades of SC WI, Clean WI Action Fund, Emily’s List, AFL-CIO, Voces de la Frontera, and the Women’s Campaign Fund. Your values are my values and we will continue our work together.
“And finally, thank you to the countless men and women from all across the state who believed in our cause; and in me. I will not forget your stories, your faces and your voices.
“Thank you very much.”
WEAC has already followed Falk’s request as the organization commits to its support for Barrett. The organization released the following statement following the election results:
Wisconsin voters have spoken, selecting Tom Barrett to run against Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election. The Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) will immediately unify its membership to support Tom Barrett as we stand together to reclaim Wisconsin.
“Tonight marks another milestone in our effort to recall Scott Walker and reclaim Wisconsin,” said Mary Bell, a Wisconsin teacher and WEAC president. “In this historic recall election, less than a month away, WEAC will support Tom Barrett. Educators stand united in their goal to recall the most divisive, anti-worker, anti-education governor in Wisconsin history.”
Throughout the primary, WEAC focused on the issues that educators care deeply about – education funding, collective bargaining rights, treating educators fairly, and honoring the integrity and professionalism of educators. WEAC’s involvement in the primary played a key role in defi ning Walker, his extreme policies and his divisive approach.
Over the next month, WEAC members will stand strong and stay united in the goal to recall Scott Walker. The union will focus on partnering with other groups in what is perhaps the most robust and powerful grassroots network of activists in Wisconsin’s history.
Barrett also stated at the Wednesday morning press conference, that the civil manner that the primary election process ran should be commended and continued through the election process. “We all agreed that even in the heat of running against one another the campaigns remained focused and civil throughout the entire race.”